We spoke with Laura Williams, Manager of the Old House in Llangynwyd, reputed to be Wales' oldest pub. Llangynwyd is the perfect place for those looking to explore and enjoy the great outdoors, surrounded by miles of cycle paths and hiking trails and the Old House now has seven new guest bedrooms!
Can you tell us a bit about the Old House and its history?
There’s an ongoing debate over whether the Old House is actually Wales’ oldest pub! The pub was founded in the 1100s so it is definitely one of the oldest - the Skirrid Inn near Abergavenny is thought to have been founded in 1110, but I don’t think there’s any official confirmation of that. Llangynwyd itself has a rich history - it is built on a medieval commote and the village also has St Cynwyd which dates back to the sixth century.
In 2001 the Old House was named the Best Whisky Pub in the UK by the Good Pub Guide (I believe there were 350 varieties) and it is said that past patrons have included Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, and David Bowie!
It has been completely transformed since the owner Steffan Jones took over the property in 2016 and we were operating as a pub, restaurant and wedding venue before the pandemic hit last year.
How are you involved in the project?
After Steffan renovated the property I joined in 2019 as the Assistant Front of House Manager. As the business grew I’ve taken over the wedding planning part of the business as well as overseeing the marketing side of things.
What can you tell us about the new bedrooms?
We are delighted that next month will see us unveil seven new guest bedrooms! Three of the bedrooms will be located amongst the eaves of the 12th century inn and will have more of a traditional cottage style with exposed wooden beams - these will be two double rooms and a larger king size bedroom.
Four additional rooms will be located in the new extension. These all overlook the landscaped garden (with spectacular views of the Gadlys valley) and will have a modern feel - there will be one family room and one accessible room.
Bedroom reservations can be made for The Old House 1147 from 12th May 2021. Reservations can be made directly via our website, or by telephoning our front of house team directly.
How has the pandemic impacted your plans?
As we reopened the Old House in 2019, we really only had about ten months of business before the pandemic forced us to close our doors. We also had a brief period between lockdowns but that didn’t last very long.
The plans to create the bedrooms were already in place, and while the past year has been difficult for all of us in hospitality, in a way the pandemic provided us with an opportunity to purely focus on this aspect of the business ready for when people could come and visit us again.
We’ve been able to host a couple of ‘micro weddings’ during lockdown but we’re looking forward to being able to offer wedding guests the opportunity to stay with us as well as dining in the restaurant!
What's your favourite thing to do in Bridgend County? What would be your ideal way to spend a free day here?
During the lockdown, I have very much missed my regular shopping trips to McArthur Glen. I definitely need a free day to visit here- I always seem to lose all track of time! I also enjoy long walks along Porthcawl’s beaches, and exploring the beautiful outdoor spaces we have here in the county.
Are you looking to any other specific Bridgend County businesses (i.e. restaurants / bars etc) reopening?
We love to support all local businesses so we are really looking forward to seeing everyone back open and busy again. It’s been an incredibly difficult year for the hospitality industry, so we wish everyone the best of luck with their reopening.
What else would you recommend visitors do in Llangynwyd and the surrounding area?
Llangynwyd is the perfect place for those looking to explore and enjoy the great outdoors. We are surrounded by miles of cycle paths and hiking trails, all with spectacular views of the valley. Those familiar with the famous Welsh love story ‘The Maid of Cefn Ydfa’ can visit the final resting place of Ann Maddocks, situated in St Cynwyd’s Churchyard. Outside the church walls there is also a memorial dedicated to Ann’s love- Will Hopkins